Friday, July 30, 2010

Live in the Father's Love

We were singing the song We have Been Told the other day in Mass and the words “as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you” jumped out at me. My reflections over the past few days were brought to life in these words.

I had been sitting in front of the tabernacle as I usually do before work each morning and I didn’t have the usual ramblings in my head. I sat there quietly, without a thought or a petition. Usually that is my time to pray for the members of the parish where I work, but that particular morning I just sat there, empty-headed.

Then, it occurred to me how Jesus calls us to rest in him. Sometimes we are so busy doing things for and on behalf of God, that we forget that God doesn’t need us to work like crazy. What he needs is for us to rest in Him, to have a relationship with Him, to know that He loves us and to receive that love.

He gave us His Son, Jesus, because he loves and cares so much for us—not because we are worker bees.

What happens when we rest in him is that we discover His great love and we experience a greater relationship with Him. That is where the song fits in . . .

As the Father loved Jesus, he loves us. Isn’t it clear now, that as Jesus loves us, we love others? That love is to be shared. It’s really that simple. Know the Father. Live in a relationship of love with Him, and then share that love with others.

How we do that will vary, of course, but our work or ministry is nothing if it does not first live in the love of God.

“Live in my love with all your heart” the song says. I have found the best way to do that is to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, resting quietly, letting the freshness of God’s love fill me abundantly.

A beautiful scripture passage related to this is 1 John 4: 7-21.

(Partial inspiration for this article comes from The Leadership Labyrinth.)

God bless,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why go to a Catholic school?

The National Catholic Register reported in it's June 6-19, 2010 issue that a Catholic school in Boston, Mass. denied admittance of a student whose parents are lesbians.

We might be tempted, at first, to think that the school is being uncharitable. Even Jesus ate with those who rejected his teachings, so why should a Catholic school deny a student based on the sins of his parents?

The thoughtful article "When a Student Has '2 Mommies'" which had additional information about the unfortunate response of the superintendent of Catholic schools (she "insisted there had been a mistake") and the threat by the Catholic Schools Foundation to withhold subsidies "from any school that discriminated against such students", made one final point which erases any doubt about the Pastor's denial.

The Register states:

"James Flynn, vice chancellor of the Denver Archdiocese and a canon lawyer, said that two canonical principles shaped Archbishop Chaput's response: 'The pastor is the administrator of the parish and, with some exceptions, it is his prerogative to decide these issues. Second, the parents are the child's primary educators, and the school is their partner."

Flynn went on to say that "if that partnership isn't going to work out because the two aren't aligned on human sexuality, human dignity or doctrinal teachings, that partnership can't continue."

The response of Archbishop Chaput as reported in the Reigster from a published statement in March, was that the "main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in the Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values."

Although Catholic schools may seem to some to simply be a quality alternative to other public or private education choices, clearly, it is much more than that. Choosing a Catholic school for one's child is only reasonable if the Catholic doctrine taught there is not opposed within the student's home.

God bless,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I opened my prayer book to a reading from Philippians (2:2-4,14-16) and these words jumped off the page:

"In everything you do, act without grumbling or arguing: prove yourselves innocent and straightforward, children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation--among whom you shine like the stars in the sky while holding fast to the word of life."

And then it hit me. This is not a suggestion. These words of Scripture are not suggesting that we "act without grumbling or arguing," but they are telling us to "act without grumbling or arguing."

How can we do that? I asked my husband. We're human, not perfect. Grateful for the beauty of Reconciliation, I at once realized that you cannot stay in a place where you act contrary to Scripture without immediately considering the mercy of God.

But that being said, isn't it interesting how often we think of the commands of Scripture as nice suggestions--something we should do, something that would be good for us, if only we could?

I find that when I take these Words of Life to heart and try to employ them, I reach higher than I thought possible. This passage in particular makes me try to withhold words that are uncharitable, act more generously, and certainly grumble much less!

Wouldn't it be amazing if, as Christians, we really were to become like shining stars? How great an evangelization tool we could become!

Look up the passages I have cited here and see if they might influence you as well. Do not miss the opening passages where we are to be of "one love, united in spirit and ideals." How might you work toward that as well?

If we open our hearts to God and take his words to heart--not as mere suggestions--we may be amazed at how beautiful our lives can become. Let us ask God for help in embracing his words and learning how to live by them.

God bless,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Discernment of work

Here is a quote I read recently that I think speaks volumes about discerning one's work:

"There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest. By and large a good rule for finding out is this. The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you've presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing TV deodorant commercials, the chances are you've missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you're bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a) but probably aren't helping your patients much either. Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." (emphasis added)

Frederick Buechner